Gutsy Hong Kong match it with Socceroos

December 3, 2012
By Angela Habashy

A gutsy Hong Kong side admit they were left feeling a little cheated after a late winner deprived them of a well-deserved draw against Australia in their East Asian Cup qualifying clash on Monday.

Skipper Brett Emerton scored the only goal of the game in the 86th minute to secure the win for a relieved Socceroos side.

Despite being ranked 139 places below Australia coach Holger Osieck admitted Hong Kong were no easybeats.

"I was quite impressed. Their tactical discipline was extraordinary," Osieck said.

"Hong Kong was a well organised team, they defended very well, they squeezed the space in midfield and made it very difficult for us to penetrate.

"So I have to give them a lot of credit."

They may not have dominated possession but they kept the 33-ranked Socceroos goalless until the dying minutes with their solid defence and iron will.

They even looked like breaking the deadlock when Kwan Yee and Lee Wai Lim went close in the second half.

"Yeah I think we did deserve a point," English-born Hong Kong striker Jaimes McKee said.

"To hold it for nil-nil for so long I think we could have kept it at that.

"The second half especially it felt like there was some opportunity for us to attack and possibly even grab a goal ourselves.

"Everyone will be disappointed to concede a goal so late in the game but I think everyone will be happy with the performance.

"So I really hope the Hong Kong fans see that and appreciate how hard we are trying to catch up with the other teams."

A jubilant Hong Kong coach Kim Pan Gon was upbeat despite the narrow loss.

"Today I am very proud of all our players, we gave pride to all the Hong Kong citizens tonight," he said.

"Australia are at a really high level, the world 33-ranked team, so they should be a good team but our resistance and reaction was also strong.

"So we showed them our mental strength. We are strong, we can fight in the name of Hong Kong."